Alternative hard rock band from the desert of Phoenix, AZ.
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If you saw my last gallery on Frank Turner, The Bronx and Pet Needs, I was quoted as saying, “[The Bronx] may very well be my favorite live band”. Well I lied … kind of. I forgot about a group of ska-loving punk rockers from Gainesville that played a pivotal role in my musical upbringing. I’m not gonna say that the Less Than Jake dudes’ performance topped that of the LA guys in the Bronx, but I’m content having a two-way tie for first on the list of ‘Nathan’s Favorite Live Bands’.
This was a fun show. It’d been almost five years since my last LTJ show, that one being across town at the Mercy Lounge with the Red City Radio boys. This was my first encounter with Doll Skin and Cliff Diver (both of which I mentally labeled as ‘will see again’), and although I am very familiar with Bowling for Soup from my early days of investigating pop-punk, I had never caught a live show of theirs either. So other than reacquainting myself with Less Than Jake’s live set, this was an evening of firsts.
What stuck out most from Doll Skin‘s performance was the sheer chaos and havoc that lead singer Sydney Dolezal rendered during their set. The images here do little justice as an accurate portrayal of the set’s intensity. They are one of few opening bands that I’ve seen that achieve this level of crowd engagement and attentiveness, which speaks volumes about this band’s live show.
Cliff Diver was an excellent opener for the two headliners because their style was a mix of what drew fans of both headliners to the show. They had the early 2000s pop-punk sound that fans of BFS would love. On the other hand, at times they also had a more traditional ska-punk sound that those who came for LTJ could appreciate.
And one other thing … man, can Briana Wright sing!
There seemed a clear division among those attending that I somewhat alluded to earlier. You had those attending for Less Than Jake (the crowd I would lump myself in with), and those who came for Bowling for Soup, and there was not much overlap between the two groups. Between LTJ’s set and BFS’s, the crowd huddled up near the stage was an entire new set of faces.
Although BFS’s glory days may seem to be in the past, these dudes can still hold their own and there’s still a pretty large group of followers who all still have the same question: Are they bowling in order to earn soup, or on behalf of soup?
There’s not much I can write here other than if you haven’t caught the Less Than Jake guys live, you’re probably in the minority of readers of this site, and you need to see them immediately. I’ve seen bands where their stage antics are gimmicky and their humor distasteful, but what could possibly be gimmicky about a damn toilet paper cannon?
In all truthfulness, you could see the sincerity of the performance from each and every member on stage. They were all genuinely having the time of their life up there.
As always, your time and attention here are very much appreciated. Check out all these rad bands, and I’ll have more galleries up in the coming weeks. Until next time, cheers!
The foremost punk rock supergroup cover band hit the House of Blues in Chicago, IL on the first day of October 2022. The band brought the humor and fun, performing others’ classics but at break-neck speed.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes has a rotating cast of characters. At this House of Blues Chicago, only one of the original members, Spike Slawson, was on stage. Joey Cape of Lagwagon and Fat Mike of NOFX were unable to join Slawson due to both bands being on tour. However, Slawson did have a pretty solid set of bandmates: CJ Ramone on bass, Speedo aka John “The Swami” Reis of Rocket From the Crypt on guitar, Jake Kiley from Strung Out, and Andrew “Pinch” Pinching formerly of The Damned, on drums. The entire band was decked out in white denim and glittery pink shirts, accented by white ties Slawson added a white sports jacket and Elton John style specs, as well his Lounge Lizard persona.
The band zoomed through a pair of John Denver tunes, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Take Me Home Country Roads,” as well as Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up,” “ScienceFiction/Double Feature” by Richard O’Brien
The set also featured Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)” by Elton John, “Mandy,” by Barry Manilow and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes serves up a reliably good time, no matter what the lineup at any given time. It’s all in good fun, though there was an early oof moment when Slawson joked about John Denver’s skills as a helicopter pilot (Denver died when the home-made aircraft he was flying crashed. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the crash to pilot errors). Aside from that, the band members play with an earnestness rather than a mocking spirit underneath the levity. They seem to be enjoying this insouciant break from their “day jobs.” The crowd was all for it and left asking for more.
The Black Tones, on its first national tour, got the show started in a big way. The duo, comprised of Eva Walker on vocals and guitar, and her twin brother Cedric Walker on drums and vocals, have built a devoted fan base in the state of Washington. The Seattle duo’s hit song, “The Key Of Black (They Want Us Dead)” speaks to police brutality fueled by racism.The name of the Walkers’ first album, Cobain & Cornbread, is a nod to both their hometown of the Emerald City, and their family’s southern roots in Louisiana.
On stage, joined by family as back-up musicians and singers they soared. Eva Walker is both an indefatigable shredder and a dynamic vocalist. Cedric Walker is a thunderous drummer, every bash complementing his sister’s swaggering stage presence. With songs like “Mr. Pink,” “Ghetto Spaceship,” and “Mama, There’s A Spider In My Room,” this band will continue to knock the socks off of those lucky enough to see them in the future.
In the middle slot of the evening were the rising stars in Son Rompe Pera. The band, like The Black Tones, is led by siblings. The three brothers Gama: The two Marimberos/Vocalists, Mongo and Kacho, and percussionist/vocalist Kilos. The family is from Naucalpan de Juárezon the outskirts of Mexico City. They are joined in Son Rompe Pera by Raul Albarrán on bass and Albarrán’s cousin, Richi López on drums. The band has played nearly every size of music venue, and was interviewed by National Public Radio. They were also featured in a video for NPR’s Tiny Desk Sessions, On this Windy City Saturday night, Son Rompe Pera buoyantly showcased its sound which is traditional marimba music and cumbia fused with garage punk and psychobilly. Marimberos Kacho’s and Mongo’s synchronized rapid fire banging of their mallets across their marimbas, whilst furiously dancing, building momentum, caused them to appear breathless as they hit the crescendos. Those moments elicited gasps from the crowd followed by roaring cheers. Son Rompe Pera did not just warm up the crowd for the headliners, Instead, it was introducing to many of the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes fans a piece of the members’ heritages and family traditions. In the process, they were also garnering new fans of their music and of the marimba and cumbia.
See below for more photos from the show!
Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! If it’s your first time joining us, thank you! This is a weekly column where we cover all things punk rock vinyl. So kick off your shoes, pull up a chair, grab a few beers, and break out those wallets, because it’s time to run through this week’s new releases and reissues. Let’s get into it!
Pulley‘s 1999 self-titled record got reissued a few years ago by Spanish indie label La Agonía de Vivir. It was limited to 500 copies, and it sold out pretty fuckin’ quick. Good news! If you missed out on the first run, they’ve repressed the record once again, with 200 copies on grey colored vinyl, and 300 on black vinyl. Go here to grab it, or don’t and regret it forever (or until they repress it again).
The Clash‘s iconic self-titled debut album is getting repressed on some purdy hot pink wax in honor of “National Album Day”. This is the first time I’ve been alerted to this holiday’s existence, I guess it’s some Bri’ish thing, innit? Amazon seems to be the cheapest place to get this one, and even then it’ll cost you 40 god damn freedom dollars!
Sorry if I sound like a broken record complaining about prices, but holy fuck! The thousand dollar tickets to Blink-182‘s upcoming “reunion tour” aren’t the only thing that’s pricey. Their new record – their first with Tom DeLonge since 2011’s Neighborhoods – is $37 fucking dollars!!! Holy Christ my brothers. Check out the first single below (it blows ass in my humble opinion, but you’re free to form your own opinion), and buy the record here if you want.
In case you didn’t know, Green Day‘s Nimrod is another record that turns 25 years old this year! They’re going all out for the album’s birthday, with a 5xLP box set featuring previously unreleased demos (check one out below!) and a live album recorded on their 1997 tour in support of Nimrod (there’s a poster and some other shit, too). Save some money by grabbing this one from our friends at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records – they have free shipping on orders over $75 and this box set clears that hurdle by a fair margin. Get it here.
Masked Intruder‘s sophomore album M.I. is back in print on colored vinyl thanks to the good people at Fat Wreck Chords. What color? I have no clue! The people at Fat are a secretive bunch. But hey, if you want this, or your a collector nerd and want the new variant regardless, you can acquire it here.
Here’s an upcoming release I’m personally very excited about. It’s an LP from Wrong Life featuring their first two EPs and some new bonus tracks. If you’re unfamiliar, this is former Murderburgers frontman Fraser’s current project (they were included in our Ten Underrated Bands feature a few months ago!). I highly recommend giving this a listen below, and grabbing the LP here (US), or here (EU).
Remember last week when we brought you the breaking news(!!!) that NOFX‘s So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes had a 25th Anniversary reissue on the way? Of course you do! Anyway, Epitaph still hasn’t officially announced this thing, but it seems a few retailers have jumped the gun and launched their pre-orders early. Loud Pizza Records has the US indie exclusive “Neapolitan Striped” variant listed on their webstore, and Danish retailer imusic.co has a brown color variant on their online store. Stay tuned for more!
RECORD OF THE WEEK!
We here at Dying Scene are all about trying new things, so this week I’m challenging you, loyal reader, to listen to something new! Or, in this case, something kinda old that is likely new to you! This week’s Record of the Week comes from my favorite hometown ska band Victims of Circumstance. These guys have released many albums – five to be exact – but 2011’s Acupunkture is the only one to receive a vinyl release. Coincidentally, this is also one of my all-time favorite ska-punk albums (it’s right up there with Less Than Jake‘s Losing Streak), and for the asking price of just $12 it’s a fucking steal. Buy this record!!!
And that’s all, folks! Another Record Radar in the books. As always, thank you for tuning in. If there’s anything we missed (highly likely), or if you want to let everyone know about a new/upcoming vinyl release you’re excited about, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll look into it. Enjoy your weekend, and don’t blow too much money on spinny discs. See ya next week!
Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Type “Record Radar” in the search bar at the top of the page!
Photos and Story by Meredith Goldberg
One of the final installments of the Dying Scene’s “Resurrection” shows took place on Saturday, June 18, at Liar’s Club, in Chicago, IL. Herb Rosen, Liar’s Club owner and a founding member of Chicago legends Rights of the Accused, offered up the venue for the party. He included the whole door and a percentage of the bar, even some gift certificates. Bar manager, Gary Kessler, and his crew helped ensure attendees had a good time between sets.
To kick things off, a raffle was held with Liar’s Club denizens and others offering up gift certificates and services from their businesses, which included Twisted Scissors, Citizen Skate Shop, Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse and a two hour photo session with yours truly. The bands on the bill donated merchandise along with their sets. A few others brought miscellaneous items for the raffle. Said raffle ended up very successful as to funds raised. However, partygoers seemed much more interested in donating via raffle along with the nominal cover charge. It took a while to get the prizes doled out due to winning actually being beside the point to those who participated. In fact, it seemed that many people took this break between the third and four to sit on, and by, the iconic front stoop right outside Liar’s Club.
Four very popular punk bands from Chicago immediately jumped on opportunity to help a publication that has covered them. One band did have to drop out due to unforeseen circumstances. Good thing a visit to one of the top skate parks in the city happened because this is how B.R.O.K.E. caught our eyes. Barely had the offer of the set been uttered before the members said yes.
Chicago’s veteran blue collar stalwarts Squared Off, led by its founder Jo “Hoser” Villa, kicked off the night with a hard charging set of both older and more recent tunes. The band ended their time on stage with a raucous cover of Stiff Little Fingers’ Suspect Device.
Voice of Addiction was up next. Ian Tomele, founding member of VoA, also helped with some of the logistics of the night, with his experience organizing and promoting shows being of great help. The VoA trio was very enthusiastically welcomed back to their first set at Liar’s since 2019. The band spoke of its new record, news which was excitedly received.
Aweful was the penultimate set of the evening and the trio was on fire per usual. Drummer Izzy Price added a dollop of sweetness to the sassiness by asking the crowd and his bandmates, guitarist Lucy DeKay (also of Mystery Actions), and Traci Trouble, lead vocals/bass, to join him in wishing his girlfriend Erin a very Happy Birthday. All obliged the shiny purple hot pants wearing drummer.
B.R.O.K.E. ripped through its set. One that was full of humorous and catchy tunes. A song with a reference to disgraced actor Armie Hammer wanting to eat people elicited laughs. This type of very dark, verging on gallows, ripped from the headlines, humor is embedded in the band.
Liar’s Club stands up for so many in its community. On this night it stood up for those who cover the tight-knit punk rock community in Chicago. In doing this, it lent a hand for Dying Scene to cover punk rock communities from massive to miniscule, in Chicago and across the United States.
Check out more photos in the gallery below!
*If you’re interested in donating to our cause but couldn’t make it out to one of our shows, you can send your extra dollars and cents to paypal.me/dyingscene!